***Wednesday April 9 afternoon update: 600 pounds of rainbow trout stocked this morning were split between Wallace Lake (450 pounds) and the East Branch Rocky River (150 pounds). The river is still muddy and elevated, but should be fishable this weekend if we don't recieve additional precipitation.***
Highlight species targeted by anglers around Cleveland Metroparks in early spring include steelhead, stocked rainbow trout, largemouth bass, panfish and suckers. The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are just beginning to drop to fishable levels, but this will likely be a short lived scenario as significant rain is in the forecast the next few days. Our lakes and ponds are largely ice free at this time. Anglers can check the most recent river water level and temperature at the following links: <Rocky River flow gage data> <Chagrin River flow gage data> (Note: The USGS crew was out yesterday re-calibrating the Rocky River flow gage).
The Rocky and Chagrin rivers are currently receding and on the verge of being fishable for steelhead, but significant rain forecasted over the next two days will likely spoil conditions for the weekend. The first streams to clear after a good rain will be smaller ones such as Euclid Creek at Wildwood Park, Porter Creek at Huntington Reservation and tributaries of the Cuyahoga River in Bedford Reservation (that's enough of a hint to give you some direction there!), all of which draw in a few stray steelies this time of year. A day or two after that, the East Branch Rocky River and the upper Chagrin River in South Chagrin Reservation will also be worth checking out as the main branches are still elevated. Barriers to fish migration, such as fords, dams and falls, can also be worth your effort in high water. It's tough to beat a nickel to quarter size spawn sack in brighter colors in dirty water. Fly fishers do best in stained water with larger streamers in contrasting colors (ie- Egg Sucking Leech) or brightly colored, densely tied egg patterns. Most of the steelhead taken recently have been skippers and slightly darker adult fish, with anglers still awaiting the arrival of a significant run of chrome bright adult fish, which seem to be running late due to the late, harsh winter.
The white sucker run is going strong in the Rocky River, with Morley Ford north of the Lorain Road bridge being a hot spot. Despite the muddy water, lots of suckers have been caught the past few days. A leadhead jig with twister tail, nymph flies or worm and small sinker fished near the river bottom will all take their share of suckers. Suckers are perfect for kids and less experienced anglers, although experienced anglers can find the fast action they afford to be lots of fun, as well. For some anglers, harvesting suckers for use in making fish patties is a spring tradition. Recipes can be found online if you want to give this a try. Here is a <link> to a recent local sucker fishing article.
Due to impending rain and an already elevated river, we switched plans and 500 pounds of trout were stocked in Wallace Lake instead on Wednesday. Add these fish to those stocked by ODNR Division of Wildlife Tuesday at Hinckley (2,500 trout) and Shadow Lake (500 trout) and fishing prospects this weekend are outstanding (although Hinckley Lake can get very muddy after a rain). The DNR stocked trout are pan-size (11-12"), while the Metroparkas stocked fish are running a few inches larger, on average. Trout have been biting on PowerBait fished near the lake bottom, as well as small spinners, spoons and streamer flies. Some left over trout from earlier stockings are still being caught at Ohio & Erie canal, Ledge, Judge's, Shadow and Ranger lakes, as well. Largemouth bass were also biting at Wallace Lake this week.
Over the past few weeks 1,200 pounds of rainbow trout were also stocked in the East Branch Rocky River between Royalton Road (Rt. 82) and the ford crossing just south of Wallace Lake. These trout will be well distributed once the river level recedes. The next stocking is slated for Wednesday and updates will be posted to the fishing report, so check back regularly for the latest info.
As ice along the Lake Erie shoreline and harbors continues to melt anglers can find crappies, largemouth bass, steelhead and northern pike prowling nearshore areas for baitfish. Steelhead are more nomadic while the remaining species tend to be more structure oriented. A small watercraft will increase an angler's opportunities in this area. Edgewater boat ramps are still closed for hurricane related repairs, but are expected to re-open later this spring.
Winter Fish Kills Around the Region. As noted in earlier fishing reports, the severe winter with extended ice and snow cover made smaller, shallow local lakes more prone to winter fish kills than normal. Although three of our secondary fishing locations had fish kills of varying degrees, I am pleased to report that none of our major fishing areas appear to have been affected. Even Shadow Lake, which had a bad winter kill in 2011, showed no evidence of dead fish when I was there yesterday. I have recieved reports of some fairly bad fish kills in local private ponds, as well. For more info regarding fish kills around he area, you can check this <link>.
Early Season Trout Seminar at CRO this Saturday. Dan at CRO wanted to let folks know they are offering a free seminar this Saturday focused on early season trout fly fishing on Saturday April 5 from 1:00-2:30pm at Chagrin River Outfitters. The talk will cover techniques, flies, and approaches for dealing with cold water, high water, early season hatches, how to match them, go to fly patterns, and more. With trout season just getting underway this is a timely primer for anglers interested in learning more about stream trout fishing. The presentation will be held at <Chagrin River Outfitters>.
Thank You to Craig Lewis at Erie Outfitters. Cleveland Metroparks would like to thank Craig Lewis, owner of Erie Outfitters, for sharing his knowledge with our staff regarding setting up commercial bait tanks. Check out <Erie Outfitters> for all your steelhead and Lake Erie fishing needs.
If you have a photo or information that you would like to contribute to the fishing report, or if you have any further questions regarding fishing in Cleveland Metroparks, you may contact Aquatic Biologist Mike Durkalec at (440) 331-8017 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dexter has been outfishing his dad at Wallace Lake this week, with a pair of fine trout to his credit (photos courtesy of Corey Butram).
Mike and his father made some impressive catches in the Cuyahoga River this week. The toothy northern pike bit an orange and eggshell colored spoon and the steelhead hit a Mepps Aglia spinner (photos courtesy of Mike Reed).
Dane reports "Got out to the Rock on Saturday before the rain and snow hit. The river was pretty stained but I still managed to get a few, including 4 suckers and 1 steelhead. The steelie was my first of the year - and a surprise. I thought it was another sucker until it cleared the water by 2-3 feet on its way in! Sucker photo below was funny with my buddy photobombing it." (photos and report courtesy of Dane Seikel).
Cleveland Metroparks employee Charles went trout fishing for the first time ever after work this week and caught fresh dinner in the East Branch Rocky River (photo courtesy of Allen Reinke).
Jim caught this rainbow trout at Bonnie Park recently (photo courtesy of Pete Surace).
John (top image) and his buddy Jimmy have been laying the smack down on the rainbow trout at Wallace Lake and the Ohio & Erie Canal (photos courtesy of John Lusnek).
Ted (top image) and an unidentified angler scored these nice trout on PowerBait at Wallace Lake yesterday afternoon.
Recently retired Strongsville police officer John Hall caught this limit of Wallace Lake trout on the silver KastMaster spoon laying on the bottom fish. Just prior top his retirement, John assisted with the infamous Rocky River fish kill investigation in 2012 (photo courtesy of John Hall).
Charlie and Rick show off a few trout from their near limit catch at Shadow Lake yesterday afternoon. They were using corn flavored PowerBait fished closer to the shoreline than most of the other anglers.
Stephen is no fish snob, and is proud of the fact he enjoys catching white suckers. He's my kinda guy! (photos courtesy of Stephen White).
Rod displays another kind of sucker from the river caught while trout fishing the East Branch of the river. This one is a northern hog sucker (photo courtesy of Mark Fascione).
Andrey had a great day fishing well upstream this week, landing 5 of 7 steelies he hooked. He was using tube jigs and various colored marabou jigs drifted under floats (photo courtesy of Andrey Gutsulyak).
With the river already elevated and more rain on the way, we decided to stock 500 pounds of rainbow trout in Wallace Lake instead yesterday.
Justin (allegedly) exclaimed "What a beaut!" as he reeled in this white sucker while targeting steelies this week. Regardless of what some others may feel about suckers, Justin finds suckers to be neat. As you might imagine, there is a bit of an inside joke going on here (photo courtesy of Justin Marconi).
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That's what we did with over 70 Baldwin Wallace University students this week who were scheduled to sample fish in the Rocky River with their biology classes. The river was flowing too strong to sample so we went to Baldwin Creek and tallied 16 different species of stream fishes to discuss.
Ace volunteer Steve Nyetrae set a great example by picking up trash left by others while stocking trout at Wallace Lake this week. Please keep Steve smiling and don't litter!
Note: The fishing report is updated monthly in June, July, and August and weekly every other month
2017 Cleveland Metroparks Registered Fishing Guides (name, company, contact)
17-001 Mario Chance, Chagrin River Outfitters, email@example.com, (330) 984-3086
17-002 Justin Pribanic, Chagrin River Outfitters, firstname.lastname@example.org, (724) 799-5011
17-003 Joseph Beno, On The Swing, email@example.com, (440) 667-2278
17-004 Jeffery Liskay, Silver Fury Guide Service & Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org (440) 781-7536
17-005 Monte Casey, The Steelhead Guide, http://steelheadguide.com
17-006 Nathan Miller, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, http://steelheadalleyoutfitters.com
17-007 Patrick Robinson, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, http://steelheadalleyoutfitters.com
17-008 Justin Shillaci, Steelhead Alley Outfitters, http://steelheadalleyoutfitters.com
More information on Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Guide Permit requirements, including the permit application, you may check the following link: Fishing Guide Permit Program
Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund
Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund helps provide a rewarding fishing experience to Northeast Ohio anglers through the stocking of rainbow trout, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and other sport fish. The Fund also supports children's fishing derbies and creation and restoration of essential habitat in the ponds, lakes, and rivers within Cleveland Metroparks.
For more information or to make a gift to Cleveland Metroparks Fishing Fund, including a web donation option, please visit: <Fishing Fund Donations Online>